Kupec Resigns Over Travel Expense Questions

Matt Kupec ’80, who led Carolina through the two biggest fundraising campaigns in its history, has resigned following questions related to his travel expenses.

Chancellor Holden Thorp ’86 said Monday that he had accepted Kupec’s resignation, which was effective immediately. Kupec had served as vice chancellor for University advancement.

A statement released by the University said that questions have been raised related to Kupec’s travel expenses and that an internal investigation has been launched. The University’s internal auditor has begun an audit of all travel-related expenses, and the statement said that UNC also may engage a third-party auditor to review the expenses. If it is determined that violations occurred, according to the statement, the University plans to take appropriate action.

“This is a difficult day,” Thorp said. “Matt has made significant contributions over the years, raising billions of dollars for the University. However, these are serious issues that require a thorough investigation.”

The Daily Tar Heel reported that Thorp said many of the funds in question appear to have been used for personal reasons dating back several years. He also said, according to The DTH, that questions were raised during Kupec’s recent five-year performance review as UNC officials were reviewing documents related to trips Kupec had taken with one of UNC’s major gifts officers, Tami Hansbrough, who is the mother of former UNC basketball star Tyler Hansbrough ’09.

On Wednesday, the University announced that Hansbrough had resigned, effective immediately. She had been placed on administrative leave Sept. 10 as the internal investigation was launched.

“I’ve been asking for information about it, and in the last few days, I found some information that I felt like I really need to talk to [Kupec] about,” Thorp said, according to The DTH. “And when I asked him about it, he offered to resign.”

Thorp named Julia Sprunt Grumbles ’75, former corporate vice president of Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta, as Kupec’s interim replacement.

At Carolina, Grumbles co-chaired the Women’s Leadership Council established in the Carolina First Campaign. It is now a 320-member network. Of the $2.384 billion raised in Carolina First Campaign, women gave more than $470 million.

She also serves on Thorp’s Innovation Circle, which developed the roadmap for “Innovate@Carolina: Important Ideas for a Better World,” has taught in the University’s minor for entrepreneurship program for five years, chairs the Institute for the Arts and Humanities advisory board and is a member of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center board of visitors. She is a native of Memphis, Tenn., and graduated from Carolina with a degree in history.

Kupec was employed by the University for more than 20 years and served as vice chancellor for advancement for 16 years. From July 1989 to June 1995, as associate vice chancellor for development, Kupec led campus fundraising during the Bicentennial Campaign, which ultimately raised $440 million. In 1996, under then-Chancellor Michael Hooker ’69, Kupec was named to a newly created position of vice chancellor for University advancement, which manages development and University relations. In that role, Kupec directed the Carolina First Campaign, which raised $2.38 billion — $500 million more than its original goal.

In a statement released on Sept. 10, Kupec said: “Effective today, I have submitted my resignation as vice chancellor for university advancement at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“Being a part of the Carolina family is one of the true highlights of my life. The journey began as an undergraduate student. It restarted in 1992 when I returned to Chapel Hill to raise money for Carolina. I have enjoyed 21 years of raising critical private dollars to support this great University. I have proudly led two hugely successful campaigns — the $440 million Bicentennial Campaign for Carolina and the $2.38 billion raised during the Carolina First Campaign. In all, I have helped raise $4 billion for Carolina.

“I have been privileged to have worked with incredibly talented faculty, students, administrators and staff. I have worked with gifted chancellors. But most of all, I have been fortunate to work with a score of passionate alumni and friends who love this University and who have paved the way through their generosity to make Carolina a true gem.

“I will miss you all but in my heart I will always be a part of the Carolina family.”

As a student at UNC, Kupec was a quarterback on the football team.

Private gifts to UNC totaled $277 million in 2010-11. They represent one of the four main sources of revenue for the University; the others are government contracts and grants ($804 million for 2010-11), state appropriations and aid ($534.7 million for 2010-11) and tuition and fees ($362.6 million in 2010-11).

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